Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tories cut disability benefits by £30, again

Iain Duncan Smith has come up with a brilliant plan to save money. He’s going to cut £29.05 a week from half a million people who are too sick to work – slashing their payments from £102.15 to £73.10. Why? To encourage them to get better and go back to work.

Unfortunately, these are people who his own work capability assessment process has already confirmed are not fit to work. But they have been judged as potentially being able to get a job one day, and for that little glimmer of hope he’s going to cut their income. Mwhahaha.

This policy is pretty universally applauded as evil. The Lords have already rejected it once, and even Tory back benchers have said it goes too far. None of that will stop IDS, who is determined to make sure that no unfortunates gets any help from his department.

It pays to have a Tory council

Over the past 6 years, the government has been slashing local council funding. On average funding has been cut by 30% so far, and is due to be cut another 56% over the next 5 years. The cuts are so bad that even David Cameron’s own mother has been protesting against the cuts. Thankfully the cuts have not been equal though. In the five most deprived areas of the country, the cuts have been on average £336 a head, compared to £7 a head in the most deprived areas. It’s no coincidence that the deprived areas have Labour councils while the richest areas have Conservative councils. Mwhahaha.

The government has been getting a lot of heat from its back bench MPs about the funding cuts – presumably even nice middle class people have noticed that slashing funding for libraries, children’s centres, schools and elderly care is a bad thing. The MPs are in fear of losing their seats at the next election, so David Cameron had to find some money to stop that. And he certainly has targeted his funding at saving those MPs.

£300m has been found from somewhere to help the councils who are suffering due to the Tory cuts. But the funding isn’t going to the areas in the most need of financial help, but rather to the ones most in need of political help. The councils in the five most deprived areas – the Labour run Hull, Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester and Middlesbrough councils will receive a grand total of zero pounds. At the same time, the councils in the five least deprived areas – the Conservative run Chiltern, Elmbridge, Hart, Waverley and Wokingham get a total of £5.3m. In total 83% of the funding is going to Tory councils. Mwhahaha.

Affordable homes – now with free flooding

As the recent floods have shown, you don’t have to have a house on a floodplain to be flooded, but it helps an awful lot. Because people tend to be averse to losing valued possessions and living in a B&B for months, the Environment Agency advises people not to build on floodplains. However, floodplains are generally cheap to buy, and because they are flat they are cheap to build on, so provide nice cheap housing for the masses (even if those masses will get wet on a regular basis).

Now the government has come out in direct contradiction to the Environment Agency, and said it is fine to build on floodplains, as long as the people who live there are told about the risk. As a result about half of all flagship “affordable” homes are planned to be built on floodplains. When the only houses people can buy are on a floodplain, warning them that they are going to flood and pretending that’s good enough is pure evil. It’s a bit like telling someone that there’s a real risk to health from asbestos, and by the way the only job available is in the asbestos crushing factory.

The government claims to be doing something about this – it will launch an insurance scheme later this year, called FloodRe which will insure older flood risk properties at a low price. But while this scheme is great for those with a riverside mansion, it excludes leasehold flats and homes that are let, as well as all of the new “affordable” homes. Not ideal for the poor then. Mwhahaha.

Like most other measures that aren’t actually flood prevention, the scheme simply amounts to a taxpayer funded subsidy to house builders. In fact a recent report calculated that we are all subsidising builders by two to six percent, simply to have them build homes that will be regularly flooded. Which possibly isn’t what everyone wants.